In a match that’s been circled on everyone’s calendars since this season’s schedule was released, No. 25 Maryland men’s soccer will host No. 6 Indiana at Ludwig Field Friday night.
The teams met three times in 2018. Indiana walked away victorious in the first two matchups, though Maryland won when it mattered, knocking off the Hoosiers in the semifinals of the College Cup. Midfielder and current senior captain Eli Crognale played an instrumental role in Maryland’s triumphant win a little less than a year ago, assisting on both of the Terps’ goals to help give them the 2-0 victory.
“We definitely were going through a bunch of rough patches last season when we faced Indiana in the regular season and in the Big Ten tournament,” Crognale said. “But we caught our stride at the right time and then when we caught them in the semifinals we were virtually unbeatable, and it showed.”
The overall series between the clubs has been fairly contentious, becoming especially so once Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. The Terps’ record against the Hoosiers currently sits at 3-4-7, with four of their last seven matches ending in a draw. The budding rivalry between the two clubs only seems to grow with each matchup in the series, with Friday night’s contest likely furthering the divide.
“I think it’s two great programs I think that have represented themselves with class on and off the field,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said of the growing rivalry between Maryland and Indiana. “We’ve sort of established our own identity, but at the same time we’ve been sharpened by their success.”
Indiana Hoosiers (8-1-3, 4-0-0 Big Ten): 6:30 p.m.
Head coach Todd Yeagley leads his alma mater in his tenth season as head coach after spending a single season at the helm Wisconsin. Since returning to Bloomington, Yeagley has led the Hoosiers to a 137-55-39 record over the past decade, making three College Cup appearances, while taking home the College Cup crown in 2012.
Players to Know
Sophomore defender Jack Maher (No. 6) has headlined a stellar defensive unit for Yeagley over the past two seasons, picking up a handful of accolades on the way. His efforts in his freshman season saw him walk away from the pitch with Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, as well as Top Drawer’s First-Team Freshman Best XI.
Earning a spot on the MAC Hermann Trophy watchlist for the top college soccer player in the nation in 2019 as well, Maher is a rising star that has professional potential written all over him.
Senior defender Simon Waever (No. 3) is a newcomer to Yeagley’s defense, but so far has fit right in with the rest of the Hoosier backline. As a three-year starter at Evansville, Waever was a two-time First Team All-MVC honoree and led his club with seven assists last season. Waever’s reputation in the Missouri Valley Conference was enough to earn him a spot on the Preseason Big Ten honors list, as well as a starting spot on the Indiana back line.
Senior midfielder Joris Ahlinvi (No. 10) joined Waever as part of an impressive crop of transfers brought in during the 2018 offseason, coming over from FIU to spend his final season of collegiate eligibility with Indiana. Having been a two-time First-Team All-Conference USA selection at FIU, Ahlinvi was immediately slotted into the 10 spot for Indiana.
But a lower body injury has forced him to miss a significant part of the early season slate, sitting for Indiana’s first nine games before returning on Oct. 6 as one of the Hoosiers’ offensive catalysts.
Team defending. Anchored by Maher and Waever, Indiana has one of the top defensive units in the conference and country this season. Its team goals against average mark currently sits at .768, which is good for 23rd in the nation and second in the Big Ten. Having only allowed more than one goal in just two matches so far this season, the Hoosiers certainly won’t make things easy for the Terp offense on Friday night.
Shot accuracy. Though the Hoosiers excel on the defensive end of the field, they’re certainly not averse to having their share of struggles offensively. Despite averaging 14.5 shots per game, which is 31st in Division I, just 71 have been on net and only 20 have ended in goals, resulting in shot accuracy of 40.8 percent (118th in Division I).
Three Things to Watch
1. Will Maryland take down another top opponent at home? Prior to its 1-0 loss to Georgetown on Monday night, Maryland had a pretty strong track record against ranked opponents at home. With wins over the- No. 9 St. John’s and No. 15 Cal State Fullerton, the Terps were looking near-unbeatable on the pitch at Ludwig Field. The outcome of Friday’s match will almost certainly decide the validity of Maryland’s home-field prowess.
2. Can the Terps avoid another second half disaster? Maryland’s loss to Georgetown, at least from the team’s perspective, can be chalked up to a poor second half showing. The Hoya offense exploded in the second half with 11 shots and six shots on goal, exposing a spread-out and tired Maryland defense en route to victory. Entering Friday’s match, the goal for Cirovski’s squad is a more complete performance over the 90 minutes.
3. How will the Terps respond following the loss? Excluding its back-to-back losses to Virginia and UCLA early this season, Maryland has followed up each of their defeats with wins in 2019. Though turning around to face a Top-10 will be no easy feat, Cirovski is already thrilled with how his team has responded during this week’s training activities.
“Couldn’t be happier with the way we’ve responded,” Cirovski said. “We’ve filed the Georgetown game away, we’ve picked up a lot of things that we liked, and obviously some errors that we need to get better at.”